1 Elizabeth i do not care pregnant, Luke 1:5-25

Elizabeth was a respectable mrs married to Zechariah, a member of the Jerusalem priesthood. She was previous menopause, she husband was elderly, and she had given up hoping for a child. But her life took an unforeseen turn. She became pregnant, come the amazement the all.

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2 mary visits Elizabeth, Luke 1:57-66While she was pregnant through the future John the Baptist, she offered shelter to her young cousin Mary the Nazareth. Mary, pregnant through Jesus and unmarried, may have been fleeing from the anger of her family. When the women met, every knew the they and also their kids would be an extraordinary component of God’s plan.

3 Elizabeth has a child John, Luke 1:67-80A couple of months later on Elizabeth boring the son she had constantly hoped for. She named him ‘John’. He to be circumcised, and Zechariah regained his speech and hearing.

Elizabeth i do not care pregnant, Luke 1:5-25

First, Luke outlined Elizabeth’s household background (see Elizabeth in Luke’s gospel). She was descended from a long line of clergymans – Luke do this clear right in ~ the start of his gospel, since he wanted to say, loud and clear, the John and Jesus both come from a respectable, well-connected family.


Reconstruction that the regalia worn through the Jewish high priest

He started by discussing that not one but both John’s parents come from a priestly family, and that Elizabeth’s father to be a priest – this is what is expected by ‘daughter the Aaron’.

What was her problem?

Despite her impeccable family background, Elizabeth was barren. In those days childlessness was not simply a misfortune, it was a disgrace (see Genesis 16:4, 11; 29:32; 30:1, 1 Samuel 1:5-6, 11, 2:5, 7-8).

But in Elizabeth’s situation this could hardly be so, because her reputation was blameless. Instead, there had to be some various other reason.

Could it be that, like the great fore-mother buy it (Genesis 18:11) and also the childless Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2) she continued to be barren because God had actually a greater plan for her?

Luke now collection the scene because that the an initial dramatic event.

Why was Zechariah in ~ the Temple?

Zechariah had been liked by lot of to go into the sanctuary that the holy place of Jerusalem and offer incense as component of the everyday worship in ~ the temple – only the priest who had been chosen by arbitrarily lot, and also therefore by god’s hand, might enter the sanctuary.

It to be a pivotal moment for Zechariah. Over there were around 8,000 priests at the time, for this reason any priest can only expect to offer sacrifice once or double in his lifetime.

Now it was Zechariah’s turn.


A design of Herod’s Temple. Zechariah available sacrifice within the doors the the key building, though not in the within room referred to as the divine of Holies. Below: floor arrangement of the holy place enclosure


At about 3pm ~ above this certain day the stepped forward right into the sanctuary to sell incense. The world waited outside, as did the various other priests.

At that moment, an angel (see What is an angel?) appeared at the right side of the altar in front of Zechariah.

Why the right-hand side? because a favored courtier or royal household member always took this place in a royal throne room.


Zechariah and also the Angel, James Tissot

But an angel? What exactly does that mean?

It’s hard to tell, yet biblical writers appeared to usage this indigenous to present that a person being had actually received a post from God.

Our skeptical, must-have-proof civilization finds it tough to understand, yet we would probably say the very same thing in a different way:

that a deep conviction of purpose cleared up on the person involved, guiding them towards a details course the action.

The angel’s message

The angel spoke. That reassured the terrified Zechariah, telling him not to be afraid.

Then it offered him momentous news: his wife Elizabeth would certainly conceive and also have a son. Because the hand the God is clearly evident in what is happening, the listener/reader knows that this will certainly be no plain child.

The point of view was specific. The kid would have four characteristics:

he would be great in the vision of Godhe would certainly drink no wine and also thus live the ascetic life that a Nazarene, setting him personally from ordinary peoplehe would be filled v the Spirit indigenous his conceptionhe would prepare because that the Messiah and thus it is in a catalyst in between Israel and also God.

What was Zechariah’s response?

It’s difficult to believe, but Zechariah quibbled! the expressed doubts the this can happen. He discreetly comprise that

he was no longer qualified of sex-related intercourse, and also thathis wife had ceased menstruating.

There was genuine confusion top top his component here, yet there was additionally the feeling that he was objecting, as he asked for a sign – simply as the an excellent fore-father Abraham walk (Genesis 15:8), and also Gideon (Judges 6:36-40) and Hezekiah (2 majesties 20:8-11).

The point of view responded by specify name itself – ‘I to be Gabriel. Ns stand in the visibility of God’.

Can an angel be offended?

Only the highest possible officials in an asian royal court stood in the visibility of the king. Protocol demanded the most world bow or prostrate themselves, therefore Gabriel was telling Zechariah he had committed an offense in not believing the message.

As punishment for his lèse-majesté Zechariah was diminished to silence, probably coming to be both deaf and mute.

In one way it to be a reassuring miracle,but in an additional it was a punishment, one that would last until the birth of the child set him free.

Zechariah is win dumb

When Zechariah come out of the holy place he was unable to speak.

This to be puzzling because that the people about him. Why couldn’t the speak? clearly something momentous must have happened.

The priests and also people construed his silence together proof that he had actually had some profound religious experience, possibly a vision, yet Zechariah can not tell them of his experience.

Frustrated by his i can not qualify to speak, he tried to define by signing. This had restricted success. That finished the end his allotted service, climate headed home.

Elizabeth pleases God

Zechariah had doubted but Elizabeth had not, and now she, not her unfortunately husband, moved into the spotlight.

Home in ~ last, Zechariah discovered comfort in the arms of his wife. One thing brought about another, and she came to be pregnant – to her surprise and also the amazement of she family and friends.

When she realized she to be pregnant, she entered seclusion. This meant she did not leave her residence for any type of reason, no one receive any visitors. She stayed choose this, top a calm and quiet life, till her pregnancy ended up being physically evident to all that saw her.


‘The Visitation’, by Jacopo Pontormo. Environment-friendly is the traditional colour of new life.

Mary visits her kinswoman Elizabeth

Luke 1:57-66

Meanwhile, the young Galilean mrs Mary had been betrothed come Joseph of Nazareth with

a formal experienced agreement, legit binding, between the families of the young people,and a bride price paid to Mary’s family.

It was supposed that the formal marital relationship would take it place about a year later, when Mary would be taken to the home to Joseph’s family members to live.


Accustomed together we are to light images the the Annunciation, and of Mary and Joseph v the infant Jesus, we often tend to blot out the fact of the situation: a young girl to be pregnant, her fiancé knew he was not the father, yet the bride price had actually been paid.

In a middle Eastern rural ar at the time, this sort of situation could easily result in an respect killing of the young girl by her fiancé’s family.

Mary in danger

What couple of commentators it seems ~ to realize is the Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, about a hundred miles away in Judea, may have been a desperate effort by her family members to save her native this fate, to obtain her out of the method until part solution had actually been functioned out.

Leaving Galilee and also traveling south, mary duly arrived at Elizabeth’s residence in Judea ~ a trip of about three or four days.

See Galilee to Jerusalem – bible Maps to trace the route of this journey.

At very first glance, this might seem prefer a commonplace occasion as two kinswomen, both pregnant, meet each other.

But Luke was making oblique referrals to Old testament precedents, alerting the reader to a deeper definition in Elizabeth’s story:


Mary’s visitation come Anne, by Giotto

The song of Elizabeth & Mary

The two pregnant ladies met, and also at that minute Elizabeth’s unborn baby responded by unexpectedly moving and also kicking in her womb.

Twenty-eight weeks, the finish of a woman’s second trimester, is the common time to intend an unborn baby to absent in the womb, and also this may well have actually been the first time Elizabeth’s unborn baby moved – an interesting moment for any type of mother.

She took this suddenly movement, at this certain moment, together a sign.

In a moment of penetrating spirituality clarity, Elizabeth known she was being checked out by the mommy of the expected Messiah. She pronounce a blessing ~ above the younger woman:

‘Blessed are you among women, and also blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mom of my Lord pertains to me? for as soon as ns heard the sound of your greeting, the son in mine womb leaped for joy. And also blessed is she who thought that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to she by the Lord.’

Mary responded with the words of the song dubbed the Magnificat.

Scholars currently guardedly say this was a hymn sung by the early Christians in their liturgies, implying that it might have had actually a composition day later 보다 the moment of meeting in between the 2 mothers.

They additionally imply the an illiterate peasant girl native Galilee would not have had actually the ability to create such a hymn.

Did mary really compose the Magnificat?


Mary and also Elizabeth, by Robert Anning Bell. Notification the point of view quietly watching indigenous behind the curtain

But there is no reason to think that Mary can not have actually been capable of creating it herself. The Magnificat is closely based upon the track of Hannah in 2 Samuel 2:1-10, and Mary must have actually known this song well.

She absolutely would have known the track of Hannah through heart, due to the fact that women at the time had a rich dental tradition, every one of it memorized, andshe would have thought the track of Hannah appropriate, due to the fact that Elizabeth’s pregnancy so late in life copy the pregnant of Hannah.

Adapting passages from the Jewish bibles to fit current cases was a familiar component of the dental tradition, and also Mary and her female loved ones would have actually been familiar with this technique.

True, there is some evidence it was adapted along the means before Luke analyzed it into Greek, yet surely mar is the resource of this glorious song.

Elizabeth gives birth come John

It is no clear from the text whether Elizabeth had actually the assist of her young kinswoman once she provided birth to she baby. Commonsense and also the slide out of time would suggest she did. Elizabeth would absolutely have been surrounding by loving, came to relatives and friends, especially due to the fact that her progressed age must have made it a an overwhelming birth.

Note: In old times, females hunched themselves over a feet hollowed in the ground, was standing on bricks or stones placed at either side. They gave birth in a squatting position, v relatives and friends taking turns to assistance them under the arms. In the Roman human being there were one-of-a-kind birthing chairs through a U-shaped hole in the seat and also supports because that the feet and back, however we have actually no way of understanding whether this latest medical modern technology had got to Roman-era Jerusalem. Childbirth in old times


The Visitation, through Domenico Ghirlandaio

Elizabeth has actually a kid John

Luke 1:67-80

Elizabeth had a son, and also all her friends and relatives were overjoyed because that her. She appears to have actually recovered fine from the birth itself, due to the fact that eight days afterwards she to be up and also around, prepared to attend the circumcision of she son.

A baby was usually named on the work of his circumcision, and also a common practice currently was to surname a very first son after his grandfather.


An elderly mrs holding a new baby – as Elizabeth did

In this situation however, Elizabeth’s extended family appeared to have chose that the baby would be referred to as Zechariah, after his stricken father.

But Elizabeth stepped forward and also briskly contradicted them. Her son’s name was to it is in ‘John’, she said.

Everyone disagreed with her, stating that there to be no family precedent for the surname ‘John’, yet Elizabeth stood she ground.

She insisted for this reason fiercely that, exasperated, the family members turned come Zechariah because that support. Since he might not speak, that asked for a writing tablet computer – a little wooden tile with a wax surface. Through a stylus he scratched a single sentence: ‘His name is John’.

Zechariah speaks

Immediately, come the amazement that the onlookers, that regained the use of his speech and hearing. A skeptic no more, his first words to be in worship of God. The sound the his voice silenced even the most talkative that his neighbors.


A modern-day take ~ above the meeting between Elizabeth and also Mary that Nazareth. The Visitation, by Dennis Creffield

They to be awed and not a tiny frightened by what they were witnessing.

Like next-door neighbors everywhere, they might not wait to pass on the story that what had actually happened, and also discuss its meaning. The child of Elizabeth and also Zechariah must definitely be destined for greatness – ‘the hand of God was with him’, and he would certainly be different and unique.

Now the name ‘John’ seemed appropriate, since without any family precedent, it provided him an identity of his very own that had nothing to execute with the past.

Their assumption was cemented by the indigenous Zechariah now spoke. This small child would someday be a prophet that the many High, that said, prepare the method for the Messiah.

This scene is the critical we check out of Elizabeth. Through the standards of the time, she was currently elderly, and she may not have lived to watch her son prosper to manhood.

What occurred to Elizabeth’s kid John?

It has often been argued that John, defined as living in the wilderness (Luke 1:80), may have actually been a member that the Essenes at Qumran. This team was well-known to embrace young children and also look ~ them, hoping they would become permanent members of your community.

If Elizabeth and also Zechariah were both elderly and died quickly after John’s birth, the Essenes may have actually done just this because that John.

If so they were disappointed, due to the fact that John damaged away to build his very own ministry in the desert, preparing the way of the Lord.


Elizabeth greets she cousin Mary, painting from the Duc de Berry’s publication of Hours

Names in Elizabeth’s story

Elizabeth is Eli-sheba. It means ‘God’s promise’, or ‘my God is generous’.Mary means ‘wise woman’ or ‘lady’. The is a Greek form of the Hebrew Miriam or Mariamme, and was the most popular woman’s surname at the time of Jesus.John way ‘God has been gracious’.Zechariah way ‘God has remembered’.

The main ideas in Elizabeth’s story

In the Old Testament, God’s power is often shown through a woman that prays and also gives bear after everyone else has given up hope.Elizabeth marked her child as various when she insisted on a non-family name. This and also the suddenly illness and recovery of she husband Zechariah perplexed Elizabeth’s neighbors, but she was standing firm against a doubting community.Inspired by God, she knew man was a kid with a good destiny.LEAPING because that JOY

A commentary on the Visitation through Fr. Gil Alinsangan

ln his infancy narratives Luke, both physician and artist, uses a style dubbed diptych, where 2 stories are presented in parallel panels for much easier comparison.

In his gospel, two birth narratives space being contrasted: the of man the Baptist and that of Jesus. A fast look in ~ the first two chapters that the Gospel of Luke reveals parallel stories of annunciation, birth, circumcision and also naming, witnesses the birth, and also growth.

The Visitation story in Luke’s gospel is distinct in the sense that it is no presented in diptych. Luke breaks the pattern.

After focusing on parallel events as they build in different scenes, Luke now brings the many important personalities together in one setting

we have actually Mary meeting Elizabeth (and Zechariah)but much more importantly, the key protagonists — Jesus and John – meet also while both are still in the womb.

Underlined in today’s Gospel is the spirit of happiness that sweeps through the atmosphere like a longed-for December breeze top top a hot day in Australia. The Lord has come. This Lord now comes in the human of the baby yet to be born; hence Elizabeth feeling privileged to be went to by Mary, the ‘mother of my Lord’.

Even man the Baptist leaps for joy. Luke will usage this same image when that writes about the delight of the shushben or “friend the the bridegroom” once he hears the voice of the bridegroom (John 3:29).

ln the ancient world, the coming of a great ruler lugged rejoicing come the populace. Rome grandiosely proclaimed September 23, the birthday of Emperor Augustus “the birthday of the god marked the beginning of the great news because that the world”.

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Luke contradicts this propaganda by saying the it is the coming of Jesus that is the real an excellent news and the reason of true ioy. The Baptist feels the while still in the womb. The herald angel will certainly announce it on the night Jesus is born.